Reverend Horton Heat

Recently, the Reverend Horton Heat, aka Jim Heath, had something along the lines of what he calls an epiphany.

He's a little tired of being taken so seriously-well, maybe not seriously, exactly, but you get the idea-and lately he's noticed that some of his funnier, country-tinged songs were his biggest crowd pleasers. Besides, being entertaining is what this is all about, right?

So, ladies and gents, roll your smokes up in your sleeve and hold on to your cowboy hats, it's time to take a trip back to a time before slick, over-produced country became the norm-a time when outlaws wrote songs about being without a pot to piss in-or at least about psycho exboyfriends and deadbeat girlfriends that spend your paycheck faster than you can say Lone Star.

Welcome to Laughin' and Cryin' with the Reverend Horton Heat a record full of country-heavy tunes about bad habits, well-meaning but clueless husbands, ever-expanding beer-guts and, well, Texas. It wouldn't be a Reverend Horton Heat record without a song or-in this case, two-about the Lone Star State. And, while Laughin' and Cryin' marks a detour from the hard driving punkabilly of the Rev's last record, 2004's Revival, this time tending toward honk, there's still some shit-kickers ["Death Metal Guys"] to let you know that Heath and crew still mean business.

"I really wanted to capture the feelings of recordings of the late '50s, early '60s," Heath said of the songs on the new record.

Exhibit A: Beer Holder, a honky-tonker about a guy who finds the table by his chair a bit too far of a stretch-so he opts for a new "beer holder," his growing gut. While this guy finds his solution genius, his woman thinks otherwise.

"[The record is] kind of from a regular guy point of view," Heath said. "You know, I like to do stuff that's kind of tongue-in-cheek that makes fun of the good old boy thing as much as trying to glorify the country boy thing."

Heath originally conceived the new record as the product of an alter ego, Harley Hog, a sort of "laughing and crying" singer.

Larry and His Flask

Musical anthropologists interested in the study of just how fast a band can evolve need look no further than the six upright, upstanding men in Oregon's Larry and His Flask. Formed by brothers Jamin and Jesse Marshall in 2003, the Flask (as the band's expanding army of fans calls them) spent its first half-decade stuck in a primordial, punk-rock goop, where a blood-sweat-and-beers live show took priority over things like notes and melodies. Don't misunderstand: The band was (somewhat) skilled and an absolute joy to watch, but the goal was always the party over perfection.

Over the past two years, however, Larry and His Flask has gone from crawl to sprint at breakneck speed. First, Jamin Marshall moved from gargling-nails vocals to drums. Guitarist Ian Cook became the band's primary voice. And a trio of talented pickers and singers — Dallin Bulkley (guitars), Kirk Skatvold (mandolin) and Andrew Carew (banjo) — joined the family. (And no, you didn't miss something. No one is named Larry.)

Determined to make music for a living or die trying, the six brothers set out in a van, intent on playing for anyone, anywhere at any time. From coffee shops to dive bars and street corners to theater stages, the Flask honed their sound and show through experience, attacking each gig like buskers who must grab and hold the attention of passersby in hopes of collecting enough change to get to the next town.

By 2009, Larry and His Flask's train began gaining steam. The band's new songs are a blurry blend of lightning fast string-band picking, gorgeous nods to old-school country, and sublime multi-part harmonies, all presented through a prism of punk chaos. The boys have grown and changed, yes, but their shows are still gloriously physical displays of live music's sheer power. In other words, keep your eyes peeled, or risk taking the heavy end of Jesse Marshall's flailing, stand-up bass right between the eyes.

A slot supporting the Dropkick Murphys in the Flask's hometown led to an invitation to open for the Celtic punk kingpins across the eastern half of the United States, as well as an opportunity to finally record their new, twangier sound. The result is Larry and His Flask's three-song, self-titled 7″ record, pressed in a limited run that's quickly being snapped up by the band's new fans, who've been clamoring for a sip of aural hooch to call their own.

In mid-2010, the Flask is holed up in their crash pad in Central Oregon, working on songs for their first full-length, playing gigs here and there, and, in the words of Jesse Marshall, "fixing the van and all our broken shit" in anticipation of the next leg of a lifelong tour. Keep up with the band's never-ending tour schedule at www.larryandhisflask.com

Deke Dickerson

A native of Columbia, Missouri, Deke Dickerson was born June 3, 1968. Growing up on a farm gave him an interesting slant on life and certainly contributed to his love of all things retro. By age 13 Deke's musical abilities began to show themselves. Playing in bands around his home town allowed the budding prodigy to nurture his growing talent. At 17 he and some friends from high school formed their own band, the Untamed Youth, a garage band that favored surf guitar licks. During the course of time the Untamed Youth was together they operated as a national touring act and released four indie recordings while gaining a strong reputation in the Midwest. But, Dickerson wanted more and moved to the West Coast in 1991. He soon became entrenched in the L.A. roots and rockabilly scene and eventually hooked up with the equally talented Dave Stuckey, another Midwesterner who had transplanted his talent to the West Coast. Together they formed one of the premier hillbilly duos to come out of Los Angeles and released two projects, the second being the highly acclaimed CD, Hollywood Barndance.

While with Stuckey, Dickerson's expertise as a guitarist began to evolve into the definitive Dickerson style. Part rockabilly, part surf and rock 'n' roll with a strong dash of the Roy Nichols jazzy style of country guitar, Dickerson put his mark on his brand of guitar playing. Sadly, he needed to move on yet again inspite of the success of Dave & Deke and the overwhelming emotional connection their audiences seemed to feel for the twosome. Parting ways was difficult and their last performance on a hot summer's evening in 1996 at Jacks Sugar Shack, located at the corner of Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood, proved to be a hearbreaking experience for the SRO crowd. Yet, Dave & Deke never sounded better. While tears were shed, both looked towards a future as solo artists.

Under the watchful eye of manager Allen Larman, the same man who guided the career of Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys to success, Deke Dickerson spent the next year seeking out a band to join him on stage and in the studio. He had a vision built upon the sounds he loved from days gone by and found his dream band in a unit that he christened the Ecco-fonics. Armed with his 'trademark custom double-neck Mosrite guitar,' Deke and the Ecco-fonics began to meld together and played all around Los Angeles, Orange County and the West Coast. They were featured at such roots music spectaculars as the Irvine, California annual Fourth of July Hootenanny and the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly spectacle in Las Vegas, Nevada.

An accomplished engineer and studio producer, in 1998 Dickerson went into the studio in order to produce a solo project by the Fly-Rite Boys sans Big Sandy. Another critical success, Dickerson was ready to take the Ecco-fonics into the studio and record his first solo effort. The result of those sessions in 1998 was the Fall release of Number One Hit Record on HighTone's HMG label. More Million Sellers followed a year later; Rhythm, Rhyme, & Truth in fall 2000. ~ Jana Pendragon, All Music Guide
Written by Jana Pendragon

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Reverend Horton Heat with Larry and His Flask, Deke Dickerson

Thursday, November 21 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at The Catalyst

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